Dump Dogs Get A Still Worse Day

The lady doggies will be greatful, the men dogs, not so much
BY: OPHILIA PAYNE

There’s a sad place up the hill on the other side of the highway, not too far from the Baja Animal Sanctuary. It is a common place for people to dump unwanted dogs, and since it is near the city dump, maybe people think that’s the appropriate place to dump dogs? The city dump? I have yet to find anyone willing to cop to this dastardly act of abandonment, but it is a fact of life. Somebody’s doing it.

The social structure of the dog community is defined by who is accepted by the pack of previously dumped dogs and who is not. The dogs that are not accepted have no place to go but down the hill to the Baja Animal Sanctuary.

thermometer.jpeg.jpgJaime Victorio lives and works at the shelter and is director of operations, The Sanctuary, or BAS as it referred to, was founded by Sunny Benedict way back in 1997 and now has 400 barking, tail wagging residents. They even have some cats. The BAS tries to turn no one away. BAS is supported by donations with long standing funding from people in the community as well as adoption events in San Diego. Their need is great.

Robin Gunther is the driving force behind spay and neuter in Baja and holds monthly free and low cost sterilization clinics, greatly reducing the number of strays in our community. She was looking for a place to hold her September spay and neuter, so she called Jaime asking for the use of BAS and heard an earful from Jaime about the long line of dogs walking towards him from the dump. BAS was full but Jamie began taking them anyway to ease the pain of these poor dogs. BAS only adopts out spay and neutered animals so their facility was offered to Robin for her sterylization clinic. Together these two people put together the September program of spay and neuter of Baja dump dogs.

The dump is overrun with dogs reproducing more like bunnies than dogs, and adding to the already grave situation. The big problem was that Jaime can’t catch them. The residents of the dump, (yes people live at the dump, shifting through it for treasures to sell),  felt that the dogs were theirs and didn’t want to give them up but when it was explained to them that the dogs would be brought back after they were patched up and sterilyzed, they reluctantly agreed and rounded them up and handed them over.

The first clinic was held at BAS on the first day of September with 30 dogs sterilized after being bathed and prettied up the previous day.

Their flea and tick treatments costing $4 a syringe was donated by the Baja Dog Rescue. Dr. Rebeca Serano preped the patients for surgery, Alexander Guzman was responsible for anesthesia and antibiotic injections. Pre-op scrubbing and shaving of the surgical site was next while Kerry and Astrid filled out the forms for each dog and aided in the recovery ward. This was once again a true group effort. It was also important to show the dump people what can be done to keep the dog population manageable both for the dogs’ benefit as well as our own. Trust has been created with the residents of the dump who will again help rouond them up for the next clinic which will be in October, with another in November. 

When I first arrived in Rosarito, I saw packs of stray dogs almost on every street corner. This is no longer the case and a lot of the reason is  Robin is teaching animal appreciation and care classes at the Boys and Girls Club, as well as in the schools. She takes her Collie Charlie who is a big hit with the kids.

 It is hoped that the next generation of Mexicans will have a new attitude towards the responsibility we all have towards animals and that they might even impart some of their new knowledge to their parents. It’s a work in progress.